WUWM Conference

24 - 26 November 2014
London, UK

Executive summary:

During the WUWM Conference in London, attendants discussed a new collaboration between the WUWM, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the Sustainable Society Network (Imperial College London). This new collaboration will identify good practices on the developments in food-distribution infrastructure.  In addition, experts identified key challenges to the industry, such as ultra-processed non-food, the need for sustainability, the struggle against income and weight disparity, and ensuring healthy diets.  Attendants also examined the London wholesale market scene, markets in education, strategic planning, and future market models.

Some of the key outcomes of this meeting are:

  1. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Union of Wholesale Markets (WUWM), and the Sustainable Society Network (Imperial College London), have agreed to collaborate in identifying, analyzing, and disseminating good practices and lessons learnt in countries across the world on the developments and/or improvements in food-distribution infrastructure of any size
  2. At the conference, Professor Tim Lang (food policy at City University, UK) stated that there are 5 key challenges to the wholesale sector, issues that he said were affecting how consumers think of food:
    1. A battle against “ultra-processed, non-food food”, a fight he claims is out of control. “We are eating foods inappropriate for our physiology,” he stressed, adding that markets must work hard at becoming known as the places to find ‘real’ food.
    2. The need for sustainable diets and closing the income gap between rich and poor, the idea that markets should do regular price monitoring to ensure they are competitive with grocery chains. Reflecting on the trend towards direct sourcing, Shorter trade routes would bring more profitability for growers and farmers.
    3. Building community relations, making sure markets are seen as the place to be for an enjoyable food experience. “No one likes going to hypermarkets. Markets must be a contrast to this, with knowledgeable stallholders. We must be encouraging our population to eat a diet that is good for the heart, and helps reduce non-communicable diseases.”
    4. The disparity between the 1.5 billion obese or overweight people in the world and the one billion who are starving, as well as that grocery shopping should not be just about “value for money”, but also “values for money”.
    5. Food is running out and the health of the world is hanging in the balance – but markets could be the ones to tip the balance back in favor of better diets. “We must be about real and good food. If we do that, markets have a great future. If we ignore all the evidence, we’re doomed (Fresh Produce Journal).
  3. Better marketing, easy-to-access locations and favorable opening hours are the keys to getting more young people enthused about retail markets.
  4. There is an appetite within the Corporation of London for a joint ‘food school’ between New Spitalfields, Billingsgate and New Smithfield markets. CJ Jackson (Director of Billingsgate Seafood School, UK) stated that: There’s a long-term vision to see a combined school for the three markets. I know a couple of visionaries who would love to see it. If one day London goes down the route of a Rungis-style (French wholesaler – WUWM member) single market [it could happen].”

Main issues discussed:

  • Overview of the London Wholesale Market Scene
    • Jan Lloyd, CEO, Covent Garden Market Authority, UK
    • Rosie Boycott, Chair, London Food and writer, UK
    • David Smith, Director of Markets & Consumer Protection, Corporation of London, UK
  • Markets in Education
    • Timo Taulavuori, Managing director, City of Helsinki Wholesale Food Market, Finland
    • Jackson, Director, Billingsgate Seafood School, UK
    • Josep Tejedo, General Manager, Mercabarna, Spain
  • ‘Love Your Local Market’ Campaign – UK and International
    • Graham Wilson, CEO, NABMA, UK
    • Jean-Paul Auguste, Chairman, Groupe Geraud, France
    • Penny Mordaunt MP, Minister for Town Centres, High Streets and Markets, UK
  • Strategic Planning and Future Market Models
    • Stefane Layani, Chairman, SEMMARIS, France
    • Niels Brandt, Consultant in development of food- and retail concepts, Copenhagen, Denmark
    • Fabio Massimo Pallottini, General Manager, Centro Agroalimentare (CAR) Rome, Italy
    • Jean-Paul Auguste, Chairman, Groupe Geraud, France
    • Brad Latham, CEO, Sydney Markets Ltd, Australia


Path Copy 7